Comic Closet: The Joker (Live-Action)

Top 4 Costumes:  The Joker (Live-Action)

Ever since Jared Leto was revealed in his full Joker makeup for Warner Bros. upcoming film Suicide Squad, fans have been going crazy. There are supporters for this latest incarnation, while there are most definitely many who absolutely hate it. We have stayed away from plugging our two cents in, but we have to side with the haters on this one. We hate his new look. This has nothing to do with how Leto will actually portray the Joker as he might actually be great; that doesn’t change the fact that we hate the design. With this all in mind we decided to take a look back at all of the live-action versions of the Joker in film for our latest comic closet. Who looked the best, who looked the worst (sorry Jared Leto) from all of the performers who we have seen in costume. Check out our full list below and of course let us know your thoughts on your favorite, Leto’s look, and more in the comments.


4.  Roger Stoneburner in Birds of Prey:  Stoneburner is the least know of the bunch as he only played Joker once, in a terrible short-lived series (Birds of Prey) and even had his few lines dubbed over with Mark Hamill’s voice.  It’s also hard to tell because of the lighting, but does he only have white on half his face?  Did they run out of makeup?  We’re sure Birds of Prey had a shoestring budget so that very may well be.  Yet he has the hair and the suit down so he still can take the fourth slot.  Plus he doesn’t have ridiculous tattoos or a grill.


3.  Cesar Romero in Batman (1960s series and film):  For a campy series for kids and adults, Romero brought his own energy and creepiness to the role.  His most creepy feature comes from Romero’s own refusal, his moustache that they were forced to cover up with the white makeup.   Sure they did a decent job of covering it, but once you know it’s there, it’s always watching you.  Beyond the moustache, they actually made him look like a great pull from the comics of the time.  Its a fairly simple costume with rather muted colors that Romero pulled off very well.


2.  Jack Nicholson in Batman:  Before the Batman films of the 90’s killed the franchise for years, Tim Burton started them off with two fantastic films.  The first was incredible much in part due to Nicholson’s fantastic take on the Joker.  His suit is over the top and colorful which matches his over the top sadistic personality.  We love the deep purple and brilliant orange coming together, tied off with his long blue bow. He looks like a clown reveling in dancing with the devil in the pale moonlight.


1.  Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight:  When Heath Ledger was cast as the Joker, people went nuts online.  The difference between Ledger and Leto is that looking at Ledger he actually looks frighteningly like the Joker.  Of course his performance was spectacular, but Christopher Nolan successfully made a Joker that looks like a real person for children to be scared of at night.  His clothing looks authentic and pulled straight from a local Goodwill.  It isn’t extravagant but adds to his character.  His hair is long, messy, and unkept; an anarchist such as himself has little time for his hair.  The scars forming his smile are the ingenious part that puts it above all else.  If only we didn’t have to go from this to what is coming next.

Dishonorable Mention


Jared Leto in Suicide Squad:  Once again, we’re not judging his performance which could be fantastic.  Yet this ridiculous look is hard to get over.  Nicholson and Romero’c costumes were over the top but this is something else.  Why is he overly tated with prison style tattoos?  I’d imagine a psychotic such as himself would have little contact with anyone is Arkham, especially not the block tatoo artist.  And what the hell is up with the grill?  Is this version supposed to be Vanilla Ice? Even his suit we’ve seen, combined with his car make him look like the biggest pimp and Gotham. He just needs his pimp hat and pimp cane so he can further look the part and get his money.  He doesn’t look scary, he doesn’t look cool;  it’s as if they intentionally wanted to make him look awful.  Perhaps its an elaborate hoax, at the end of the film we’ll find out the tattoos are rub on and the grill is a dollar store gag.  But we very much doubt that.


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